Environmental Perceptions of Rural South African Residents: The Complex Nature of Environmental Concern.

Institute of Behavioral Science, Program on Environment and Society, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Society and Natural Resources (Impact Factor: 1.09). 06/2010; 23(6):525-541. DOI: 10.1080/08941920903357782
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The state of the local environment shapes the well-being of millions of rural residents in developing nations. Still, we know little of these individuals' environmental perceptions. This study analyzes survey data collected in an impoverished, rural region in northeast South Africa, to understand the factors that shape concern with local environmental issues. We use the "post-materialist thesis" to explore the different explanations for environmental concern in less developed regions of the world, with results revealing the importance of both cultural and physical context. In particular, gendered interaction with natural resources shapes perceptions, as does the local setting. Both theoretical and policy implications are discussed.

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